Sunday, November 29, 2009

Life Celebration

Well, I can tell you one thing. I don't think anyone who attended the Life Celebration for my Mom has ever been to anything CLOSE to what this was...and I'll be willing to bet they've told at least a few people about it!
It was a total success.
I started chanting with this prayer a the beginning of the week: I VOW to achieve VICTORY in ALL areas of my life...together with my mentor...chanting with his spirit.
And Mannnn what we did. We had a beautiful room full of twinkly lights.
We started with Gongyo and daimoku and had an altar all set up for her at the front. It generated so much energy. Each person came up to the front and places powdered incence on the burner and said Nam Myoho Renge Kyo three times and said a prayer for her.

Then we had a table all set up with her jewelry on it. Mom's big thing was giving gifts...she gave all kinds of wacky things...and she had a huge collection of jewelry. So she was able to give away some of her jewelry to her friends.

It was awesome...inspiring. But somehow I just haven't been able to blog since then. I'll pick it up in the new year. Promise.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today is the day

SO today is the day of my Mom's Life Celebration. All week I have been so excited about it...writing the beautiful life story...getting twinkly lights for the atmosphere...inviting all our friends...planning the food and finding Hawaiian Leis for everyone. And right now...after holding Thanksgiving here...I am so bushed. I think I'll go back to bed for a bit...already chanted an hour and a half and cleaned more of the kitchen. Everything is in place...for 2 Buddhist, one a life celebration.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mom's Life Celebration!

Life is continuing on! And I'm OK. I actually feel so calm today. I am in the midst of planning two ceremonies for my Mom. First we'll do a Buddhist one at 4:00 on Friday, then at 6:00 we'll do one without the chanting, but incorporating Buddhist themes. I'm writing and officiating each one, and that's what I love to's the other details that go into it that make me appreciative for my sister and my family and all who are helping!
I'm also back and work, I have Buddhist study meeting tomorrow night at my house...and Thanksgiving here on Thursday...woohoo!!!!!
Thank goodness I'm chanting two hours a day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

After she died

Life is getting back to normal..only I just keep tearing up. I guess that is normal. Losing a parent is something everyone goes through (unless of course they die first, and losing a child would be the worst thing of all).

So, we carry on, appreciating those days at her bedside...appreciating having her for a mother...appreciating the fact that all three granschildren were able to hang out with her non her last lucid day...Veteran's Day. Ben played his guitar, and Aaron and Tyler talked with her and stayed with her. I had gone in early on Wednesday to chant for her and watch the sun rise. Yesterday was a very exciting Buddhist meeting here at the house. I made a huge vat of very colorful chili and had 20 people over. Dad comes in and we plan her Life Celebration!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Goodbye my sweet Mommy

Goodbye my sweet Mommy.
May your journey be beautiful
may you continue to shed light, laughter and happiness
everywhere you go.

May your sunshine continue to shine here for all you touched,
and may all the people you touched smile
remembering your warmth and special touch

May you have a rejuvenating rest...
and emerge raring to go
into your next life...
shedding all of the difficult karma you dealt with here...
in your next life...
no more broken and bruised heart,
no more damaged lungs,
no more teeny tiny veins!

I wish you
plenty of fortune in so many ways...
abundant good, vibrant HEALTH,
an incredible family to be born into...
...with incredibly loving, prosperous and Buddhist parents, so you can start chanting again right away, and recognize and love this practice again, just as you did in this lifetime, have dear, dear friends and wonderful adventures,
and for all your dreams,
forever and ever
to come true

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Strength in adversity...that is what it is all about right now...
We took Mom off of the respirator on Monday...and all of us were gathered like angels around her bed. Aaron found an immediate bus ride from Champaign, I called Ben out of High School and Tyler left a full school day at Lewis. We were all there for that brief moment when they take her off of sedation, take the tubes out of her mouth and she is lucid for awhile. It really was awesome. When she realized what was happening, and that she wasn't going to get better she rolled her eyes at us, shook her head and said clearly "shit!" And we said "right on Mommy! Right on!"
We all hung on her every word and even had some laughs. We told some stories and shed some tears. We said our goodbyes and expected her to go on her journey soon...and she is still here! We spent the entire last two days at her side. We know she knows we are there, but she can't talk. She is on comfort care. Today Ben has been playing music for hours.
Every morning I have been chanting for two hours for her...for my sister...for Mom's wonderful grandchildren...and to somehow have something so beautiful, so rare, so sweet~sweet Jan come from this experience. How can I, as a Buddhist have this experience be an encouraging one? We Buddhists believe in turning every poison into medicine.
How will that happen? I honestly don't know. All I see for the moment is my aching, aching heart. But stay tuned. And please, if you can, chant for her, and for all of us who are already missing her so much.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Keep Chanting

Well, there's really no change in Mom's condition right now...she is still on the respirator. More and more people are telling me stories about loved ones they had on a respirator who went on to live really great lives once they came off. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo Mommy!
I'm not stopping chanting for you, and so many of you have joined in. Keep Chanting ! It's too early to give up!

This morning Sam and I went to the Illinois Area Activity Center and chanted for two hours. He's a brand new member and he chanted the full two hours. He told me the first half hour he was focused on what he desired and the second half hour was a war in his mind...I know exactly what he means.
When you chant you bring it all out! Go SAM! Go all of you!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chanting for my Mom

Well, it is, as they say in this practice...the crucial moment. We've been trying since Thursday morning to get my sweet Mommy off the ventilator ans she is just not strong enough...and now she's developed a mrsa infection in her lungs. Oh no.
Ben just competed in the state Cross Country meet. He ran a great race...was in 2nd the whole race and ended up in the end at 18th.
It's been a long day.
I'm headed back to the hospital to chant for her at 8:00. They won't let you in between 7:00 and 8:00 because they are changing shifts in the ICU. Chanting, chanting, chanting, working to keep my life condition so high...if you can, please chant with me!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chanting for my Mom

Such challenges! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!
My Mom is in the hospital. Yesterday was a really frightening day...Last night they had to put her on a ventilator in the middle of the night. I am sooo grateful to be a Buddhist! I woke up this morning and chanted for an hour and a half for my Mom's health. I pictured all her cells working in harmony, and saw her beautiful smiling face! Then I emailed my friends and asked them to chant for her too.
She's stable on the ventilator, and the goal is to gradually wean her off, and strengthen her. ICU is a wonderful place for her to be. She's sedated and well taken care of.
As I was chanting I kept thinking of Nichiren Daishonin. Through his prayers he extended his mother's life by seven years. I was digging deep to muster all my faith, to summon forth my determination. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!